In the writing in english on Indian Drugs, it appears to have almost escaped attention. Dr. Buchanan, in his account of the Kingdom of Nepal enumerates four kinds of Bakh, of which Bakhma is one, and describes it as a powerful bitter. With pepper, it is the remedy for pains in bowels, diarrhea and vomiting. It is regarded as a valuable tonic and digestive.
It grows in the alpine Himalayas of Sikkim, Nepal and the adjoining parts of southern Tibet; between altitudes of 3,000m and 4,800 m.
It is a biennial herb with tuberous and paired roots. The mother root is often dry and cylindrical and the daughter root varies from shortly conical to long cylindrical. Its external surface is somewhat smooth and light brown. The leaves are orbicular-cordate to reniform with a very wide shallow sinus. Flowers are greenish blue in few-flowered panicles. The follicles are 2.5-3.0 cm long. The seeds are blackish, obovoid, obscurely winged along the raphe and transversely lamellate.
The roots contain five diterpene alkaloids, viz. Palmatisine, Vakognavine (C34H37NO10), Vakatisine (C22H34NO2Cl), Vakatisinine (C22H33NO4) and Vakati (C22H33NO2).
The alkaloids identified from the plants are non-toxic1.
The root is intensely bitter like quinine and is used in combination with Long Pepper (Piper longum) for pain in the bowels, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- Anonymous, 1998, Wealth Asia CD-ROM, CSIR, New Delhi.